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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Issue of Forced Labour in the Onjembo, German South West Africa, 1904-1908
Author:Gewald, Jan-BartISNI
Periodical:Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
Geographic terms:Namibia
Herero revolt
colonial conquest
forced labour
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Labor and Employment
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/1887/4821
Abstract:In January 1904 the 'Onjembo', the Herero-German war, broke out. During the course of seven months the Herero were driven back from their ancestral homes and lands and forced to retreat into the northeastern reaches of the then German colony of South West Africa, the present-day Republic of Namibia. Following their defeat at Hamakari in August 1904, the surviving Herero were driven northeastward into the Omaheke region of the Kalahari desert basin. Prior to the battle of Hamakari German commanders had already received requests from settlers for the allocation, for labour purposes, of a number of the prisoners of war which they were expected to make. The German 'Reichskanzler' recommended that missionaries be asked to encourage the Herero to surrender and that those Herero who surrendered were 'to be placed in concentration camps in various parts of the country where, under guard, they could then be used for labour'. The prisoners were used by both military and civilian enterprises for a wide range of activities. In 1908 the camps were abolished and henceforth the former prisoners of war were subjected to stringent labour and pass laws. Notes, ref.